Scotland deposit return scheme receives mixed reviews

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:
The DRS will see a 20p deposit on each item

Scotland’s deposit return scheme has been met with mixed reviews from industry following concerns it will lead to more material exports.

The scheme, which will place a 20p deposit on aluminium steel cans, glass and PET drinks containers, is based on successful international equivalents and will be widely accessible from all shops selling drinks.

The Deposit Return Scheme Implementation Advisory Group is providing guidance on the scheme’s interaction with consumers, producers, retailers and the hospitality industry.

Jill Farrell, chief operating officer at Zero Waste Scotland, said: “This will be a game-changer for recycling and the circular economy in Scotland.

"By giving people an extra incentive to do something good for our environment, and having a consistent approach across Scotland, we are confident… this will improve the volume and quality of recycling and help tackle litter in the process.”

Yet there was concern by waste management firm Viridor that collected recycled material may be exported.

A spokesperson for the company said: “We would like to see the Scottish government introduce a scheme with an administrator who is tasked with ensuring this valuable resource is retained by Scotland for reprocessing within Scotland and reintroduced to the country’s economy. This would allow Scottish residents to see the circular economy in action.”

CIWM Scotland also criticised the plans which it said undermined previous investments into kerbside collections.

In a statement, it said “the longer-term economic viability for both the collection and reprocessing of the remaining lower value materials is a key question that needs to be addressed.

“We will need to ensure that in the long term we still have a viable industry that can respond to, support and implement the collection and reprocessing requirements for new recyclable materials, and materials with higher recycled content that will become available to the Scottish consumer.”

There will be an opportunity to comment on the proposed approach when draft legislation is published later this year.

Scotland was the first part of the UK to commit to a DRS.

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